I caught up with my friend Lauren Currie (aka Red Jotter) in London a few weeks ago and we spoke about her latest project, #upfront. The project is a response to the common issues people face in sharing their thoughts and opinions through public speaking. I was explaining to Lauren that I also struggle with public speaking and with writing, that I’m fine when it’s a one-on-one or smaller group situation but when it comes to sharing more publicly I get scared.
Lauren invited me to discuss my thoughts on the topic in a blog post for #upfront. We had a catch up over Skype to pull apart my public speaking and writing experiences and how I’m managing to move forward. The process we went through was really interesting: she asked me some questions and typed what I said. This process removed the barrier between my thoughts about the subject and actually translating them into writing. I was able to reflect on what I was saying, without feeling the pressure to write something. She emailed my thoughts back to me – they sounded good! I was able to clearly see the value in sharing my thoughts without filtering them first.
I think that the core of it comes down to not overthinking things. In the blog post I spoke about my challenges in public speaking being mostly to do with me getting in my own way. So this process of having someone taking down what I’m saying as I’m saying it really removes that barrier. Right now, as I am reflecting on all of these things, my colleague Sabina is typing for me. It’s a little strange, but has resulted in me actually being able to get my thoughts down to share them with you, rather than being paralysed by the fear of what you might think. Also, when I’ve tried to write blog posts in the past, knowing where to start and how to structure my message has been one of my biggest challenges. I found this process helpful in overcoming this. There is something about communicating verbally that means you are already naturally putting a structure to what you want to say without having to overthink it.
The process also enables me to have a two way conversation, as the person listening and typing is able to nod along or ask me to explain things when they are not clear. My thoughts and opinions are validated in real time. When I think about public speaking one of the scariest things is that it isn’t a two way conversation. I’m not able to gauge if people are understanding me or if I’m getting across the intended message. It is the same with writing, it can feel like a one way conversation. I’m very much the type of person that wants to start a conversation and build on it whereas the format of public speaking and writing doesn’t feel like it allows this to happen. This process of having a discussion with someone while they are writing my thoughts down is a wonderful way to get my voice across in a way that I’m comfortable with.
Do you have any tips for getting your thoughts out that you’d like to share?
You can read my post on my experience with public speaking on the #upfront blog.